The Platinum Card from American Express Review [2021]: A Prestigious Card With Perks Galore

Earning lucrative rewards and gaining access to upgraded travel benefits comes at a cost with this original luxury card.
Last updated Jul 31, 2021 | By Sarah Li Cain

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Fancy yourself a new card with luxurious perks? Then The Platinum Card® from American Express might be just what you’re looking for. Armed with a whole host of benefits and a generous welcome offer, this card offers major value for frequent travelers.

However, it does come at a cost, and you might be wondering if it’s worth the high annual fee. Read our Amex Platinum card review before applying to learn about the benefits, drawbacks, and who this card is best suited for.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Benefits

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 10X points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 in Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees

Drawbacks

  • High annual fee

In this Amex Platinum card review:

Who should get the Amex Platinum?

Those who want the ultimate luxury travel experience may benefit most from The Platinum Card from American Express. Sure, you can earn points toward free travel, but that’s not the only thing that makes this rewards card so prestigious.

What you get on top of earning points is upgraded access and lucrative credits on offer. Instead of it just being about nearly free travel, cardholders can also gain access to upscale travel experiences that might be out of reach for non-cardholders.

For instance, you could skip the standard hotel room and instead unlock more than $500 worth of upgrades at over 1,000 luxury hotels through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Or, you could make the airport less of a hassle by ducking into a Centurion Lounge to take a short nap and fill up on complimentary food and beverages. Keep in mind that some benefits do require enrollment.

The point being — if you can take advantage of enough Amex Platinum benefits, you could offset the $695 (See rates and fees) annual fee. If, however, you’re an occasional traveler who tends to lean more toward budget-friendly travel, you may want to consider a different card.

If you're a business owner, you might also consider The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. These two Amex Platinum cards share many similar perks yet vary just enough that understanding how the Amex Platinum vs. Amex Business Platinum cards compare can be very helpful. 

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer
American Express
Annual fee
$695. Terms apply.
Welcome offer Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months)
Reward rate 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None (See rates and fees)


Amex Platinum benefits & perks

The Amex Platinum Card offers a slew of valuable benefits that are hard to beat when it comes to traveling in style. Here’s what it offers at a glance:

  • Generous welcome offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. Plus, new cardmembers also get 10X Membership Rewards points on restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first 6 months, after that 1X).
  • Earn rewards for flights and hotels: Earn 5X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. 
  • Annual credits: Each calendar year, receive up to $200 in Uber credits for U.S. rides, $100 statement credit for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, up to $200 in airline credits, up to a $179 credit for a CLEAR® membership, and up to $200 in hotel credits on qualifying charges at select hotels. Cardmembers also get up to $300 back on qualifying memberships to Equinox fitness clubs and a digital entertainment credit up to $240 on eligible subscriptions from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Note, you may need to activate these offers after you get your card. 
  • Access to airport lounges: Enjoy more than 1,200 airport lounge locations in over 130 countries through the American Express Global Lounge Collection. Enrollment is required.
  • No foreign transaction fees: If you're looking for a card with no foreign transaction fees, you can include this one on your list. 
  • Cellphone protection: Your cellphones attached to a cellphone bill you pay in full with this card are covered for theft and damages of up to $800 per claim. You may have up to two claims per card account per 12-month period. A $50 deductible per claim may apply.
  • Gold Elite Status with the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors programs: Active these perks to enjoy both these hotel programs including complimentary room upgrades, early check-in, and late checkout.
  • Uber VIP status: You could also get Uber VIP status with this card, depending on where you live. This perk will get you matched with 5-star Uber drivers for the best possible rideshare experience. You'll need to activate this benefit and add your card to the Uber app to take full advantage.
  • Travel benefits to give you peace of mind: Get a statement credit for either a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every 4.5 or 4 years, respectively. Be sure to activate this benefit before you apply. Cardholders also receive perks such as secondary coverage rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, and 24/7 access to the Premium Global Assist Hotline. 
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance: If you book with your Platinum card and your flight is canceled because of sudden illness, inclement weather, jury duty, or even terrorist activities, you could be entitled to up to $10,000 of reimbursement.
  • Trip delay insurance: If your flight is delayed more than 6 hours, you could also be reimbursed for up to $500 in unexpected expenses per trip.

Drawbacks of the Amex Platinum card

While this card does offer tremendous value for frequent travelers, it does come with some drawbacks as well:

  • High annual fee: The Amex Platinum has an annual fee of $695, which is on the higher side. If you don't travel enough to offset this cost, a different card might be a better option for you. The American Express® Gold Card offers a lower annual fee yet still earns Membership Rewards. A direct comparison of the Amex Gold vs. Platinum cards can help you see which best fits your needs.
  • Limited Uber credit: While you are eligible for up to $200 in Uber credit with this card, this credit is only valid for U.S. rides. 

Earning & redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

When you spend with your Platinum card, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points. If you’re a regular traveler who likes to pay for quality and wants to reap the benefits, you can maximize your earning potential by using your card to book flights and prepaid hotels, since you’ll earn up to 5X points per dollar.

You can also earn Membership Rewards by referring friends or family to the Amex Refer a Friend program. If your spouse, business partner, or travel companion like the Amex Platinum perks you enjoy, they can use your referral code to get their own Amex Platinum and you will earn 15,000 points, up to 55,000 points per year.

When it comes to redeeming Membership Rewards, each point is worth $0.01 toward flights booked through American Express, but they could be worth less when redeemed for hotels, gift cards, or merchandise. Because of this, you may want to prioritize trading your points for air travel, since you could get more value out of your rewards.

Potential earnings in year one

Here's a look at how your Membership Rewards points can add up with the Amex Platinum. To calculate this value, we used a point valuation of $0.01.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $735

This value is based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

The earnings as calculated do not take into account the potential to earn 10X points on restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first 6 months, after that 1X). As a new cardmember, if you take advantage of this opportunity your first year earnings could be quite a bit higher.

In addition to the potential earnings above, each year Amex Platinum cardholders also receive up to $200 in Uber credits for U.S. rides, $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases, up to $200 in statement credits for airline incidentals, up to $200 in hotel credits on qualifying charges at select hotels, and up to $179 in CLEAR® membership credits. Cardmembers can also get a $300 credit for qualifying Equinox fitness club memberships and up to $240 back on eligible subscriptions from Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. If you take these into account, year one value increases to $1,419. And if you take advantage of the complimentary benefits at airport lounges, that value may be even higher. Select benefits require enrollment. 

Best ways to earn

Your best bet when earning points is to do so through American Express Travel or directly with an airline. You can earn the maximum number of points per dollar with prepaid hotels or flights.

Restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first 6 months, after that 1X) 10X
Flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com 5X
All other eligible purchases 1X

Another way to maximize earnings is to combine the Amex Platinum with other cards from American Express into the Amex Trifecta.

Maximizing your redemptions

To maximize your redemptions, consider using your points to book travel. Each point is worth $0.01 when booking flights through American Express Travel. You can even transfer your points to a participating airline or hotel’s loyalty program. Depending on the exact program you move your points to, you may be able to make them stretch further with this strategy.

Don’t forget, you can also receive a $200 credit for qualifying charges through The Hotel Collection when you book via American Express. Plus, if you book at a hotel where you can take advantage of your Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors gold status, you may receive extra perks, like room upgrades and complimentary WiFi.

Amex Platinum transfer partners

If you prefer to book through another loyalty program, American Express has several airline and hotel transfer partners. Most Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with some exceptions.

Amex Airline Transfer Partner Airline Alliance Transfer Ratio
AeroMexico SkyTeam 1:1.6
Air Canada Star Alliance 1:1
Alitalia SkyTeam 1:1
Aer Lingus N/A 1:1
Air France SkyTeam 1:1
All Nippon Airways Star Alliance 1:1
Avianca LifeMiles Star Alliance 1:1
British Airways Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyTeam 1:1
EL AL Israel Airlines N/A 50:1
Emirates N/A 1:1
Etihad Airways N/A 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines N/A 1:1
Iberia Plus Oneworld Alliance 1:1
JetBlue Airways N/A 5:4
Singapore Airlines Star Alliance 1:1
Qantas Airlines Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Virgin Atlantic Airways N/A 1:1

If you want to use your Amex Membership Rewards points to pay for a hotel room, you can do that as well. Amex currently partners with three hotel rewards programs.

Amex Hotel Transfer Partner Minimum Transfer Transfer Ratio
Choice Hotels 1,000 1:1
Hilton Honors 1,000 1:2
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 1:1

Amex Platinum FAQs

Is the American Express Platinum card worth it?

If you are seeking a luxury travel experience, the Amex Platinum is one of the top travel rewards cards which gains you access to exclusive travel experiences and airport lounges around the world. If you take advantage of its other perks, such as luxury hotel upgrades and statement credits towards airport security, you can get even more value from it.

You can better understand the value of the Amex Platinum by seeing how it stacks up to other cards in its class. The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige have similar perks with some key differences in what they are best suited for. By comparing the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum vs. Citi Prestige rewards cards, you can determine which is truly worth it for you.

What are the requirements to qualify for the American Express Platinum card?

American Express doesn’t officially state the exact requirements on their website to qualify — except that you need to be 18 years old and a U.S resident — but it’s safe to assume you’ll need good or excellent credit to qualify.

You’ll also want to make sure you can comfortably afford the high annual fee. When filling out the application, include all of your income sources so you can prove to American Express that you’re able to responsibly cover the fees for the card.

What lounges can I use with my American Express Platinum card?

After enrollment, you can access the Centurion Lounge with locations including Dallas, Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Additional lounges include Delta Sky Clubs, Escape Lounges, International American Express Lounges, and Priority Pass Select lounges.

How do the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy gold statuses work?

Once you’re a Platinum Card from American Express cardholder, you can request enrollment with Marriott Bonvoy and the Hilton Honors program. You can maintain your gold status as long as you’re still an American Express cardmember unless terms and conditions change.

The Hilton Honors program provides its gold members with perks such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, late checkout, and the ability to earn elite-tiered bonus points. The Marriott Bonvoy gold status also gives you benefits such as late checkout, free room upgrades, and bonus points earned with every stay.

Other cards to consider

The Platinum Card from American Express takes luxury travel to a new level, but if you don’t think you can maximize the travel rewards and upgrades to offset the annual fee, you may want to consider some of these credit cards as alternatives. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a lower annual fee, a $300 statement credit for travel, and valuable redemption options, so you can still have that luxurious travel experience you may be looking for. A card-to-card comparison of Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. Amex Platinum can help with your decision. As the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are the flagship cards in their respective trifectas, comparing the Amex trifecta vs. Chase trifecta can be useful too.  

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is also a worthwhile alternative for the avid traveler and food lover. Earning rewards is just as simple as it is with the Sapphire Reserve and both of these premium rewards credit cards offer a killer sign-up bonus to help jump start your travels — but with a significantly lower annual fee than the Platinum Card from American Express. You can compare the value of the Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred cards directly to see which better fits your spending habits.

Best Luxury Travel Benefits

Special Offer

Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months, plus 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases during your first 6 months)

See rates and fees

See how these cards compare:

Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Best offer ever! 100,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Author Details

Sarah Li Cain Sarah Li Cain is an experienced content marketing writer specializing in FinTech, credit, loans, personal finance, alternative investments, real estate, banking, international business and travel. Her work has appeared in Fortune 500 companies, publications and startups such as Transferwise, Wordpress, Pearson Teachability and KeyBank.